It's a battle that thousands fight each year and a struggle so many lose. Ovarian Cancer is known as a silent killer for a reason.
We here at KXII lost a friend and colleague, Denee Frazer to Ovarian Cancer one year ago. To keep our promise to her, we’ve teamed up with an old friend, Martha Sutherland. Together we are “Fighting the Good Fight.”
A lot can change in a year and Martha Sutherland is proving miracles everyday. “The main thing is, I got up this morning and put my feet on the floor. I'm still here.”
Diagnosed with stage four Ovarian Cancer two years ago in August, Martha is fighting a battle with her own life. "I think God is not finished with me yet. I was not a statistic in 2006, probably should have been! I was not a statistic in 2007, really should have been! Here are four months into 2008, I’m not a statistic, and don't plan to be.”
We first introduced you to Martha last July. One year into the fight, she was spreading the word of this deadly disease, while the cancer quickly spread through her body. “I’ve spent the last half of last year on the campaign trail to honor the commitment I made to Denee Frazer.”
Denee lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer just nine months after she was diagnosed. Martha remembers a commitment she’d made to Denee. “Last year at the Relay for Life, Denee was supposed to be the speaker, I was backup. She was at home, very sick so I filled her shoes as best I could Friday night. She died 7am Sunday morning."
This year, Martha is the key note speaker at Relay for Life in Denison. Getting to this point has been a bumpy ride! “In January, my Ovarian Cancer just knocked me through a loop. I was in the hospital 13 days 4 days in ICU. When I was pushed out in a wheelchair I came out with a colostomy and a feeding tube. That has been quite a shock.”
Dr. Tammy Roque with the Texas Oncology Cancer Center says, “One of the main struggles Martha has had is she had a bowel obstruction. That is not uncommon in patients with Ovarian Cancer. What happens is the tumor obstructs part of the colon. Some of the side effects are nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort.
For Martha, surgery was a necessity. Recovery hasn’t been easy! It’s a game though, that Martha is winning. “It’s going to continue that way, I am going to beat the odds.”
Dr. Roque says, "She has definitely beaten the odds. She is so determined. Martha is an amazing patient.”
To keep our promise to Denee and to Martha, we here at KXII are helping spread the word. This year alone, more than 25,000 women will be affected; 15-thousand will lose the battle. Dr. Roque says, “If you have symptoms of abdominal bloating, difficulty with urination that does not go away with antibiotics, pain or pressure in the pelvis, you need to see your doctor.”
Martha had all of these symptoms, but waited too long. “My problem was that I should have gone 3 or 4 months earlier. When I had excessive diarrhea and was losing weight, I should have gone to the Doctor. I waited too long and then it was too late. It had reached my lung. If I had gone four months earlier, I would have been able to contain it to my abdomen and maybe then I would have been then operable.”
Now Martha is relying on science. Chemotherapy is the only thing keeping Martha alive. Six drugs down the road, her spirits are still high, even though medically her options are running low. Martha is still planning on spreading the word though, because even she isn’t giving up. In fact, this relay for life, she’s got a message that sums up her life. “Cancer comes along and it says, ok, I’m going to break your hands out in a rash. I say, Ok cancer, I can cover it up and put medicine on it! Okay says cancer, I am going to put soars on you legs. Ok cancer I can deal with that too. Ok says cancer, I’m going to make you bald. I say, ok cancer I don't care about the hair. I am alive!”